A tradition at Bryn Mawr since 1979, the Greek Myth Play has challenged third graders to bring classic stories to life through playwriting, set production and dramatic performance. This year, the project expanded to teach students myths and folklore from a variety of cultures in addition to ancient Greek as part of the Lower School’s diversity, equity and inclusion curriculum review process. This year and going forward, the Greek Myth Play will now be known as the Great Myth Play.
As always, the Great Myth Play is intended to be a rich interdisciplinary learning experience for students, combining the history of myth and folklore, scriptwriting, puppet and scene creation, and this year, Covid-compliant stop motion video production. It’s taking the work and coordination of a team of Lower School faculty.
Students started by meeting with Lower School librarian Lydia Mason to learn about myths and folklore from a variety of cultures including Greek, Egyptian, Norse, Choctaw, Irish, Mesoamerican and Asian. Each homeroom worked together to select the myth they wanted to turn into a play.
After carefully selecting their respective plays, “Isis and the Seven Scorpions”, “Heimdall and Loki”, and “Orpheus and Eurydice”, students worked with Ms. Anne Broadus ‘88 and Ms. Cauthen-Robinson ‘12 to write scripts and learn about dramatic performances. Students practiced improvisation techniques to learn about writing dialogue, chose the characters they wanted to play, and in typical third grade fashion, injected a little humor into otherwise serious storytelling.
The next step was to create the scenes and puppets in art class with Ms. White to prepare for the stop-motion video. While each play only has between 7-9 characters, three puppets were needed for each so that all three scenes could be recorded at the same time. In small groups, students positioned the puppets and photographed each movement for the stop motion creation.
Throughout the process,Lower School technology integrator Ms. Caruso guided students through the tips and tricks of stop motion production and is helping them edit images, record the script and put it all together for the finished product.
Just like all things this year, the pandemic is changing how the Great Myth Plays will be presented to an audience. Instead of a full on-stage production, plans are still in the works to livestream the videos to the Lower School for a special community event.